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Book Review: The Man Who Didn’t Call

Few years back when I was still working, I had just given a presentation and was supposed to fly off to a vacation later that evening. As I hopped in my car to head home after a gruelling session of people-dealing, I remembered I had to check up on a person I had just recently acquainted myself with. I typed a text on my phone.

“Hey. How are you? Heard about the other day. Is everything ok? Do let me know and take care.”

I hit send. Waiting for a reply or an assurance that everything is OK.

I got home, changed into something comfortable and started packing my bags for my flight that evening. Several hours passed, no reply.

I got dressed, headed to the airport, checked into my flight, looked at my phone. No reply.

I ate a sandwich in the departure lounge, with a hot cup of tea. My phone, no beeps. No new messages.

I boarded the flight, switched my phone off. Some 6 hours later, I landed in a different country, a different climate, a different world. I checked my phone. Roaming is on. But…

No new messages.

A week had passed, I was back home and still no new messages. The person had completely gone AWOL on me. Till this day, I do not know why that person never replied to me even though they are pretty much alive and well and still going about their business.

My little encounter with an unanswered text did not have any romantic inclinations, yet it hurt all the same. It was humiliating because my intent had been pure and my concern for them had been genuine. So when I picked up this book, I felt what Sarah Harrington felt when the person she was expecting didn’t show up.

I loved reading this book. Someone on the back cover of this book claims that it is “Unputdownable” and I agree. I had a hard time putting this book down. The mystery that surrounds the entire story just kept me hooked. I even had a low-key argument with my husband because he interrupted my book reading time for something trivial! And I love my husband. A lot. But I just had to get to the bottom of things. I could feel my anxiety kicking in whenever I was doing anything other than reading this book.

The story is about Sarah Harrington, a nearly forty woman who just split up with her husband of seventeen years and was visiting her parents in England when she has an encounter with a man on one of her walks. They instantly hit it off and even though their conversation is about “sheep”, they end up spending seven days together. Sarah heads off back to her life in California and the man, Eddie, to his vacation in Spain. He promises to call from the airport, but he never does. And it drives Sarah insane with the possibilities of what could have happened to Eddie that he never felt the need to call her back even though the seven days they spent together were the closest to something real that they both had ever had.

It drives us crazy too, the reader. I even sat down and listed several possibilities as to why he didn’t call, but eventually it was none of them! The story and the narration is brilliant. When you finally figure out what actually happened, there comes yet another twist that makes you jump in your seat! But the remarkable thing is that despite all the twists and turns the story does not get boring. And then there are the modern day references that keep the story relatable, like references to Facebook and Whatsapp and using the phone light as a torch. Little nuances of how we use the internet these days have been beautifully etched. For example, when you send someone a message and they leave you off at seen and you’re almost killed with anxiety!

I cannot really go much into the story and how it unfurls without giving it away. But if you’re into reading something romantic yet mysterious, something light yet refreshing, I’d highly recommend you pick this book up. It’s not very philosophical or deep, there’s probably no lesson to take away from it, but it’s entertaining in a way that is very refreshing.

Happy reading!

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